Quarkside

16/11/2010

No2UID – but SIF keeps using them

Filed under: Education,Innovation,Technology — lenand @ 11:47 pm
Tags: ,

Last week, Quarkside made the case for assertion based identity matching, avoiding reliance on imperfect UIDs.  How come I am such a strong supporter of the Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF), which does rely on GUIDs (Globally Unique Identifiers)?

  1. You do not need a Unique Identifier (UID).
  2. The Law does not demand it.
  3. Alternatives are better.

This has developed into the ambitions of No2UID. Paradoxically, this does not mean that there is no place for UIDs. Take the example of the  (SIF). The SIF specification requires every thing to have a Global Unique Identifier (GUID) – essentially a UID. The reason is simply that systems that use UIDs are here now. They do work and are simple to understand by school administrators using systems interoperating via SIF.

  • If a child changes any personal information, such as subjects studied or contact telephone number. Then the same information is automatically available to any other authorised system. No data has to be re-entered into another system AND the data is exactly the same. It is more efficient and errors are reduced. Error correction is currently one of the most time consuming processes.
  • The concept of one system providing a master reference record makes sense. The master record must be correct and school administrators are blissfully unaware of the background processing, linking via GUIDs.
  • SIF has a hub at the centre of many systems, known as a Zone Integration Server, or a ZIS. A ZIS does not store any data; it only checks the data quality. It only orchestrates the transfer of valid records.

So I don’t discount UIDs. It’s all part of evolution. But I won’t say that UIDs are essential. No2UID solutions are not off the shelf and it will take several years to develop the toolkits.

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